My core approach is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), but I also integrate skills and techniques from compassion-focused therapy (CFT) and sensorimotor psychotherapy when these approaches have something valuable to offer. Many therapies have the pitfall that they may overlook a key aspect of a person’s experience to focus on another and this can mean that the whole of the person is not being worked with. In my approach, these skills and principles are interwoven to ensure that your thoughts, emotions, and body can all begin working together again.
Proven worldwide to be effective for a wide range of common mental health difficulties, including depression, anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder, anger and stress, CBT forms the core of my therapeutic practice.
The ‘cognitive’ aspect focuses on identifying patterns of thinking that are getting in your way and how to challenge these so that they are more helpful. CBT is not about ‘positive thinking’. There is no use in telling yourself ‘everything is fine’ if it isn’t. However, it does help you to reassess your thoughts, whether there is information anxiety or depression are making you miss or misinterpret, and how to proactively move forward.
Many of us in Western culture mistake ‘compassion’ for ‘giving yourself a free pass’. This is not what is meant in CFT. Compassion here means being able to view yourself, flaws and all, with a fair, empathic, and nurturing eye. It is not about ignoring your faults; it’s being able to examine them without self-criticism. I want to help you to move towards compassionate self-correction so you can keep developing as a person without that ‘inner critic’ continually holding you back.
I use CFT primarily when self-criticism, guilt, and shame are prominent in a client’s difficulties. This approach focuses on challenging patterns of self-criticism (whilst not ignoring areas we need to develop) and building an emotional sense of safety with oneself. Imagery work is often part of CFT as research demonstrates that imagery can lead to greater emotional change than thoughts alone.
Whilst CBT focuses on thoughts and behaviours, and CFT focuses on emotion, sensorimotor psychotherapy completes the puzzle by primarily focusing on the body. ‘Sensori-’ refers to our bodily senses (e.g., touch, sight, hearing etc.) and ‘-motor’ refers to bodily movements, whether small (like a habitual holding of tension) or large (like the impulse to raise our arms in defence).
I use sensorimotor skills when clients find there are habitual ways in which they hold their bodies, causing repeated patterns that are getting in their way. This can range from slumped posture exacerbating low mood to always having their head lowered and preventing assertive communication. These are patterns of action that are repeated because of past traumas. The sensorimotor approach uses the body’s own impulses to work out how to break these habitual patterns to restore a sense of confidence and safety inside your own body.
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